Virtual worlds

Meta offers virtual worlds to hang out with friends

A screenshot of Horizon World, the immersive virtual reality-based “metaverse”. Photo: Meta

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Metavers Horizon World

A screenshot of Horizon World, the immersive virtual reality-based “metaverse”. Photo: Meta

Facebook parent company Meta recently announced new socializing features to be added to its Quest 2 VR headsets, promising a more immersive virtual reality experience with worlds where you can hang out with your friends.

The tweak towards Oculus’ latest Quest model, owned by Meta, will allow users to jump into virtual environments with friends, chief Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page.

“I’m here to announce the ability, as soon as you put on your Quest 2 headset, to have people hanging out with you in a social environment,” Zuckerberg said in a video.

The software update will open a door to the Horizon World virtual reality platform that Facebook parent Meta opened to the public in North America late last year.

Meta is also working to allow people to create their own virtual worlds where they host gatherings of avatars, Zuckerberg said.

Horizon Worlds is far from a fully realized metaverse, a future internet where online experiences like chatting with a friend would eventually feel face-to-face thanks to VR headsets.

But the platform allows people to get together online with friends or others, play games, and immerse themselves in 360-degree videos.

Facebook parent Meta earlier this year instituted a minimum distance between user avatars in its Horizon virtual reality network after reports of harassment, one of the thorny issues for its view of the metaverse.

The immersive platform’s “personal boundary” feature places a ring of space around users’ digital proxies.

Facebook renamed its parent company Meta in October to underscore its goal of transitioning from a scandal-prone social media platform to its virtual reality vision for its future.

The company’s metaverse push also includes remote working tools, which have exploded during the pandemic.

Facebook bought virtual reality headset maker Oculus in 2014.

The technology took off in the gaming industry and became popular among Fortnite and Roblox players.